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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

MPs not more equal than poor Malawians

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BY TIMES EDITORIAL:

We agree entirely with Chancellor College and Catholic University economists, Ben Kalua and Gilbert Kachamba, in rebuking Members of Parliament (MPs) for single-mindedly resolving to hike their daily sitting and subsistence allowances from K60,000 to K80,000 irrespective of the prevailing economic climate.

The legislators arrived at their immoral decision to hike their perks in the very same august House where Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, announced the reduction of the fiscal plan by K50 billion so as to cut down on borrowing.

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Yet lawmakers, John Chikalimba of Zomba Changalume and Kamlepo Kalua of Rumphi East, during a meeting the Education Committee of Parliament had with Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) in Lilongwe last week, shamelessly ranted and raved that the K80,000 was not even enough for them to afford hotel accommodation.

The MPs, speaking with an aura of their usual self-importance, hit at Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and journalists for talking about the pay issue they hardly appreciate, insisting that the legislators cannot be expected to be lodging in rest houses.

Kamlepo schooled journalists and CSOs to understand that the MPs undertake several activities in their constituencies, hence deserve better perks.

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We are not surprised with the flawed thinking of the MPs because they live in their own paradise so detached from the people they claim to represent.

It is not the CSOs let alone journalists who need schooling on the role of the MPs but vice-versa.

Surely, the MPs should have, even before they contested for their positions, known better the weighty challenge they were venturing into and decide whether they were equal to the task.

From what the two MPs told the committee, it is clear that they think the august House can provide all their financial needs so as to serve their constituencies effectively.

The MPs need to know that Parliament is not a gold mine and that any legislator who guns for such a position must be able to think outside the box on how to source funding for constituency development projects.

In any case, no one is forced to go for the challenge of serving a constituency as an MP, so whether they sleep in rest houses or in trees, that is their business.

All what matters to the electorate is the fulfilment of the promises which the MPs make during campaign.

To our selfish MPs, who go to Parliament to make money for hotel accommodation when the people they pretend to serve are sleeping on bare clay floors with no blankets and on an empty stomach, our message is clear—let us share the small cake equitably, tighten the belt together and sail through these turbulent financial times together. No one, not even the MPs, are more equal than the many poor Malawians.

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